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Tesla representative invited to Olaf Scholz's car summit


Members of the bicycle and rail industry complain that they are left out at the mobility summit in the Chancellery. According to SPIEGEL information, however, the list of participants was expanded – to include the electric car manufacturer Tesla.

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Tesla vehicles on the factory premises in Grünheide, Brandenburg

Photo: Christian Thiel / IMAGO

Tesla is allowed to take part in the first car summit of the Scholz era in the Federal Chancellery.

The invitation list for the meeting this Tuesday afternoon has been expanded according to SPIEGEL information.

However, the controversial CEO Elon Musk is not expected in Berlin.

A government spokeswoman confirmed that the German head of the US electric car manufacturer and the chairwoman of the works council at the Tesla plant in Grünheide in Brandenburg will also be invited to the summit.

This apparently takes account of the fact that Tesla has also been one of the German car manufacturers since the plant opened last year.

The CEOs of the three German car companies were on the list from the start: Oliver Blume (Volkswagen), Oliver Zipse (BMW) and Ola Källenius (Mercedes-Benz), as well as the respective heads of the works council, Daniela Cavallo, Martin Kimmich and Ergun Lümali.

The truck manufacturer Daimler Truck and the car supplier ZF are also represented according to the same pattern – as are Ford and Opel, which belong to foreign groups but are relevant as car manufacturers with mass production in Germany for having a say in the transformation of the industry.

In these cases, the managing directors of the German subsidiaries were invited to the Chancellery.

A number of associations criticized before the summit that the auto industry dominated the meeting.

"A mobility summit looks different," explained Kerstin Haarmann, the federal chairwoman of the German Traffic Club (VCD).

Dirk Flege from the Pro-Rail Alliance spoke of a »false labeling« that the transformation of the mobility economy would not be considered as a whole without the rail and bicycle sectors.

Instead of just invoking fears of dwindling jobs in the combustion engine business, his industry could also show opportunities for new growth, said Burkhard Stork, managing director of the two-wheeler industry association.

"But if the chancellor only talks to the car companies, these possibilities won't arise."

The construction industry also complained that their expertise was not included in the necessary expansion of the infrastructure.

From circles in the auto industry it was said that the suppliers with ZF as the only company were less represented than at previous auto summits under Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).

The challenges for the suppliers, who often specialize in parts for combustion engines, are far greater than for the vehicle manufacturers.

With Tesla as a pure electric car manufacturer, the focus of the meeting could shift a little more towards the turn to electric cars, which is considered a main topic anyway.

(Read more about what to expect from the summit here.)

The invitation is politically explosive because Tesla boss Elon Musk has increasingly acted as a mouthpiece for right-wing positions since he took over the short message service Twitter.

In his home country, Musk has not yet been invited to such meetings by President Joe Biden with industry representatives - and has repeatedly complained publicly about it.

Biden gives preference to traditional manufacturers.

For example, higher rates of purchase premiums for electric cars were linked to the condition that the vehicles come from unionized US plants.

Tesla is trying to prevent unionization among its workforce.

A works council was elected in Grünheide, but the majority of the votes in the election shortly before the plant opened went to a list formed by management.

The IG Metall, which sets the tone in the other German car factories and also takes part in the car summit with its chairman Jörg Hofmann, only received a minority of the votes.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-01-10

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